Performance

Overall, the X-E2 impressed us with its performance and responsiveness, ranging from startup to shot-to-shot to continuous shooting speed. Its AF performance isn't noticeably better than the X-E1 (with its latest firmware installed), except when tracking a moving subject. As you might expect, that focus performance is rather lens dependent - the 18-55mm, with its internal focus design and twin linear motors, is amongst the fastest-focusing lenses we can think of, while the unit-focus, micromotor-driven 60mm F2.4 remains a little laggardly.

Operational Speed

In the more energy demanding 'high performance' mode, the X-E2 starts up in roughly 0.6 secs - though again this is lens-dependent, as the camera will initialize the lens when powered-up. In the default (non high-performance) mode, the camera takes a less snappy 1.2 seconds, plus lens setup time. Similar times are exhibited when waking the camera from sleep mode. Shot-to-shot speeds range hover around the 0.5 second mark, regardless of the image quality.

Interface-wise, the menus are responsive, and there is no noticeable delay when flipping between images in playback mode.

AF System & Performance

The X-Trans II sensor used by the X-E2 (and several other recent Fujifilm cameras) boasts on-chip phase detection, which promises increased focus speeds and better subject tracking. In terms of single AF acquisition speed, we didn't find that the camera performed any better than the X-E1 (running the latest firmware), but with one of the faster focusing lenses, such as the 18-55mm zoom, the X-E2 starts to show some of the tracking advantages it promised. Obviously, AF speeds depend on your choice of lens, but on most of Fujifilm's recent lenses, it's still very quick. In low light, the X-E2 still performs quite well, which is often the Achilles' Heel of some mirrorless system.

We tried out the continuous AF feature with a number of subjects, and were reasonably impressed with the results. It's pretty effective with a walking subject, but a car moving at around 40kph/25mph one or two shots were not in critical focus. It only works in Continuous Low shooting mode (3 fps), but the camera had a very high hit rate, presumably helped by its phase detect system. Although the 3fps speed isn't exactly pro-Sports level, this counts as a real improvement over Fujifilm's previous models, which couldn't track focus at all.

Continuous Shooting

The X-E2 offers two different continuous shooting modes, appropriately named low and high. Fujifilm claims speeds of 3 and 7 fps, respectively. For both modes, exposure is locked on the first shot. To put the camera to the test, we used a SanDisk Extreme Pro SDXC card, which advertises 90MB/sec write speeds.

Continuous low

Timing
Large/Fine JPEG
Raw
Raw+Fine JPEG
Frame rate 3.0 fps 3.0 fps 3.0 fps
Number of frames To card capacity 11 shots 10 shots
Buffer full rate N/A 1.6 fps 1.3 fps
Write complete ~1 sec

The X-E2 hits its advertised frame rate, and beat Fujifilm's estimates for number of shots for burst. While the buffer doesn't allow for a lot of Raw or Raw+JPEG shots, it clears very quickly with a suitably fast card, so you can enter menus or playback mode with minimal delay. With slower cards, this wait will naturally be longer.

Curiously the X-E2 can show live view between frames when shooting at 3fps, but only does so when autofocus is set to continuous (AF-C). In single shot mode (AF-S) or manual focus, the view on the LCD/EVF changes to a post-shot review.

Continuous high

Fujifilm advertising a top speed of 7 fps in high speed mode, and here's how the X-E2 fared:

Timing
Large/Fine JPEG
Raw
Raw+Fine JPEG
Frame rate 7.0 fps 7.1 fps 7.3 fps
Number of frames 18 shots 8 shots 8 shots
Buffer full rate 4.8 fps 1.7 fps 1.2 fps
Write complete ~ 2 secs

The X-E2 again hits its numbers though, again, the buffer fills (and clears) quickly with a fast card. In this mode, you only ever see a post-shot view of your photos on the LCD or EVF, rather than live view between frames (which counts as normal behaviour for mirrorless cameras shooting at maximum speed).

Battery Life

The X-E2 uses the same NP-W126 lithium-ion battery as the other X-series cameras. Fuji says that you can take 350 shots per charge using the CIPA standard (a number that's more of a benchmark than an actual assessment of how many shots you're likely to get). That's a fairly typical figure for a midrange mirrorless camera - though significantly lags behind its DSLR rivals, which can shoot images without having to produce a live view feed from the sensor all the time. For intensive shooting, multi-day trips or just peace-of-mind, it's worth considering a buying a spare battery or two.

The NP-W126 is charged via an included external charger, which takes a very respectable 150 minutes to charge.